Czech bakers call for limits on wheat exports

The Czech Republic should limit wheat exports, as the price of the grain has almost doubled year-on-year due to the fighting in Ukraine, the Association of Bakers and Pastry Chefs wrote in a press release published on Tuesday. It also warns that a regular loaf of bread could cost as much as CZK 60 by the end of this year.

The sharp rise in wheat prices has exacerbated the problems of Czech bakers, who are already struggling with rising energy and fuel prices. According to the association, many are facing existential problems as a result. The bakers are also calling for the state to reduce the impact of the rising prices of wheat by subsidising bakeries.

Wheat is currently selling for a record CZK 10,500 to CZK 11,500 per tonne, while last March it cost CZK 5,500 per tonne, suggest data released by the Association of Bakers and Pastry Chefs.

Many Asian and African countries depend on imports of cereals from Russia and Ukraine and due to sanctions imposed on Russia, they have started buying cereals from other countries, including the Czech Republic.

“The Czech Republic is completely self-sufficient in the production of wheat, which is an essential raw material for Czech pastries, and exports a significant part of its production. Unfortunately, the current situation affected by the war in Ukraine has increased the price of wheat year-on-year by 100 percent,” says Bohumil Hlavatý, executive director of the Association of Bakers and Pastry Chefs.

As a result of the increase in the prices of raw materials, fuel and energy, Mr Hlavatý says bakeries saw their costs rise by more than 30 percent in January compared to the same month last year.

However, the price of rolls and bread only rose by around 10 to 15 percent, while prices of fine or sweet pastries increased by 10 to 20 percent, and according to the association, they are still among the lowest in the European Union.

A kilo of caraway bread cost CZK 31.14 on average last week, which is an increase by CZK 0.8 since January. The price of a kilogram of white wheat bread averaged CZK 56.43, a rise by around CZK 1.50 compared to January.